Reading Next: Truth Decay (‘An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life’)

I’m currently reading Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury on the Trump campaign & administration. (FW has a currently reading widget on the right sidebar of this website.) Afterward, I’ve something in queue, from Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich – their just-published Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis […]

Advocacy Seldom Reaches Chocoholics

A necessary element of writing or speaking – if it is to be enjoyable and sustained – is to believe what one writes or says, and to express those beliefs as one naturally would. (Even more important, of course, is to hold sound ideas, but here I’m writing about the underlying feeling of expression.) Writing […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 14 of 14)

This is the final post in a series considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. I can happily recommend Goldstein’s book, both for the tale it tells of a single city’s struggle after an auto plant closes, and for what readers may reasonably infer about a none-too-bright boosterism that has left Janesville (and other cities) divided […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 13 of 14)

This is the thirteenth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter of Part Six (2013) of Janesville (Chapter 54, A Glass More Than Half Full). Goldstein’s 54th chapter describes a 2013 dinner of Forward Janesville (a local “business alliance hell-bent on reviving the city’s economy”). Someone at […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 12 of 14)

This is the twelfth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter of Part Six (2013) of Janesville (Chapter 50, Two Janesvilles). Amy Goldstein is not, by style of writing, a polemicist (something that might be said, for example, of a blogger). Yet, for it all, she knows […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 11 of 14)

This is the eleventh in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter of Part Five (2012) of Janesville (Chapter 47, First Vote). Amy Goldstein’s chapter about the November 2012 presidential election is a study in contrasts, between the polling-place experiences of first-time voter and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Goldstein’s […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 10 of 14)

This is the tenth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter of Part Five (2012) of Janesville. Goldstein writes of the broader events of 2012 (the Recall election, Ryan running for vice president) and others that are more intensely individual (a graduate of a retraining program takes her own life […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 9 of 14)

This is the ninth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover remaining chapters from Part Four (2011) of Janesville. Part of this story is well-known to Wisconsinites: Gov. Walker introduces a Budget Repair Bill (since its enactment into law now-universally called Act 10 by Wisconsinites), Democratic senators leave […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 8 of 14)

This is the eighth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter from Part Four (2011) of Janesville (The Ambassador of Optimism). I’ll cover the chapter in detail because it’s so perfect in its account of boosterism, as though Sinclair Lewis’s protagonist George F. Babbitt overtook a Janesville resident and […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 7 of 14)

This is the seventh in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover five chapters from Part Three (2010) of Janesville (Labor Fest 2010, Project 16:49, Figuring It Out, and Bags of Hope). Goldstein describes the year’s Labor Day parade in Janesville through three politicians’ public personas: Since this is an […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 6 of 14)

This is the sixth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover five chapters from Part Three (2010) of Janesville (The Last Days of Parker Pen, Becoming a Gypsy, Family is More Important than GM, Honor Cords, and The Day the White House Comes to Town). What was left […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 5 of 14)

This is the fifth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover four chapters from Part Two (2009) of Janesville (Blackhawk, Ahead of the Class, A Plan and Distress Signals, and The Holiday Food Drive). Goldstein’s not polemical, and her descriptions are more subtle than they would be for […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 4 of 14)

This is the fourth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover five chapters from Part Two (2009) of Janesville (Rock County 5.0, The Fourth Last Day, Bidding War, Sonic Speed, and What Does a Union Man Do?). Goldstein describes the formation of Rock County 5.0 in this section […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 3 of 14)

This is the third in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll write about five chapters of Janesville (Change in August, To the Renaissance Center, Mom, What Are You Going to Do?, When One Door of Happiness Closes, Another Opens, and The Parker Closet). In chapters 5 through 9, Goldstein […]